Reconciling With God Through Jesus Christ!
(Readings: Jos 5, 9-12; II Cor 5, 17-21; Luke 15, 1-3. 11-32; Ps.33, 2-7)
This brief reflection was written by Rev. Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation Holy Ghost Fathers and Brothers, Province of Nigeria South East. He is currently the parochial vicar of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church Woliwo Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. For more details contact him on:firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or +23408063767512
Little did Utaka who deals on Stock Fish know he was heading for trouble when he decided to take a loan from a certain wealthy man in order to import Stock Fish from Norway. He was expected to pay back the loan on an agreed date or have all his belongings confiscated. Unfortunately for him, Sea Pirates attacked and wrecked the ship bearing his goods, and he lost all his goods. He came and explained everything to the wealthy man, and requested that he be given more time to pay his debt but the man refused to heed his plea. Shortly, but just before the said date the man took ill and was told that the only condition to be healed was to forgive those that have offended him. Meanwhile, Utaka was at the verge of committing suicide when the man wrote him this brief note: “My dear, having realized the power of forgiveness, I have cancelled all the debts you owe me, please lets continue to be friends again and do pray for me!” This is God’s providence and how Jesus through his death on the cross reassures us that our “debt of sin” has been cancelled. The wealthy man’s sickness was God’s way of mediating grace to Utaka, just as Jesus’ death on the cross and the Sacraments he left for us are His ways of mediating grace and reconciling us to Himself.
Therefore this Sunday, the Church wants us to reflect on reconciliation and the mercy of God. She reminds us of the new life we ought to have due to Christ’s sacrifice, the basis of our being reconciled to God. In today’s 2nd reading (II Cor 5, 17-21), Paul tells us that we are “Christ’s product of reconciliation.” That Christ was the one who took the first initiative of having us reconciled to God. In order words, owing to sin, we were cut off from God and not even qualified to be called God’s children. Of course, biologically we are not God’s children but through the sacrifice of Christ we became His adopted children and a people washed clean of all defilements. So, none of us is a “grandchild of God”, because He has no grandchild. Instead, we are all equally children of the same father by virtue of this costly sacrifice and the water of baptism. We are therefore God’s direct work. In today’s gospel (Luke 15,1-3. 11-32), Jesus through the story of the prodigal son therefore reassures us of the readiness of God to welcome and restore us to our lost glory. Jesus himself demonstrated this by identifying with (us) sinners without himself sinning. He tells us: “I do not delight in the death of the sinner, rather let him repent and live” (Ezk 18, 32).” As a father, God yearns to have us back in spite of our sins. Thus he beckons on us: “come let us settle the matter, though your sin is as red as scarlet they will be white as snow…,” (Ish. 1,18ff).
Therefore this season we must constantly re-evaluate our actions, ways and then in humility say like the prodigal son : “I have sinned against heaven and earth;” against you Father who for my sake allowed Jesus to die that I might be reconciled to you; of course, against you my brethrens, the Imago dei whom I offend every day. This is what Paul means when he appeals to us to be reconciled to God. He simply asks us to renounce our sins like the prodigal son, by casting away all shame and pride in order to make peace with God through Jesus who is the “Universal Sacrament of Salvation.” This Lent therefore, let us take advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation made available to us by God through Christ and administered by His Church in order to be reconciled to God. As a loving father, God instituted the sacraments that we might be reconciled to him. This is why he says to us: “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 33,9), and only those who are truly reconciled to God through Jesus Christ can savour the sweet sensation of God’s love!
Peace be with you!